Friday, April 30, 2010

Celebrations of Life: A Trifecta

I guess you could also call it The Circle of Life, yes that's a play on the Lion King. Seriously though May 1st was quite a day for people to celebrate the different stages of the lives that they lead. First let's start with celebration #1 & moi...

May 1st was my birthday! And I am now 31 years old, or young, however you want to look at it. It also happened to be the birthday of my roommate and one of the Teens in church (this is naturally it's own trifecta). But I digress. If you remember from last year my friends threw me a surprise birthday party and paid for me to accomplish my goal of skydiving. It was amazing! This year was a bit more mellow. I had friends come over for dinner and we laughed the evening away, spying on my neighbors, and eating this amazing trifle that Kali made for desert (GF chocolate chip brownies w/cheese cake filling and sprinkled with a crushed up Heath bar. You probably gained 5 pounds just reading that). It was a great evening! 1 Timothy 6:8 "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."

Here is Sandi and I blowing out our fake candles on the desert.
Forget abt. my age alone, if you had combined both our ages
with candles we might have set off the fire alarm :P LOL

Sadly, celebration #2 I was unable to attend. It was my friend Regina's wedding day! Reg and I have been friends since kindergarten, sharing the experiences of Girl Scouts and Summer School (back when it was "cool" to attend that). We giggled over our infatuation over a certain Senior, back when we were freshman in HS, shared in the fun of Mrs. Frost's Shakespeare class and school spirit rally's and finally graduated into real life. Naturally over time it's easy to loose track of people, but this past Christmas we discovered that we were both going to be in our home town for the holiday and met up for coffee. It's always weird seeing people after 12 years, but after ordering our coffee's, which we waited an obscenely long time for, our conversation flowed smoothly and it was like no time had passed at all (I love friendships like that). Now obviously we have changed since we last spent serious time together, different life paths have a way of doing that to people, but there are still things that we hold in common, like our joy in photography and laughing over our own mistakes (we're very silly). I can't wait to see pictures. Aren't they cute?

Ecclesiastes 4:9 "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour."

Mr. & Mrs. Hoefman

Now celebration #3 most people might not count as a celebration because it actually involves the passing of a life. On April 20th, 2010 Mr. Glenn Sanders passed from this side of life and into eternity. A pretty great eternity actually. See Bro. Sanders knew where he was going after he died. He was a born again child of God, and trusted in Jesus and His power to save men from their sins. I only knew him personally for the past few years, since he was the father of my friend Ginger (whom I attend church with) but in his life he was a faithful preacher of the gospel, as well a missionary to Romania, Russia and the Reindeer people in the later years of his life. The memorial service held on Saturday was a great time of testimony for the life that he led and the lives of the people that he touched and a celebration in the fact that his life was well lived.

Jeremiah 40:31 "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

Bro. Glenn Sanders
March 5, 1928 - April 20, 2010

Some people believe that there is no way of knowing that you're eternity can be secure, but if that were true then there would be no relevance to 1 John 5:13, which says "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." You can also know about eternity and what Jesus did for Bro. Glenn, and you, by clicking on this link if you're interested.

Life, as you can see, has various events to be celebrated; birth, marriage and death, the Lord is in them all. My 30's are setting up to be an interesting decade. Let the celebrations continue!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My March SPS

My March SPS (Secret Prayer Sister) was Kali:) And one of the gifts she gave me brought a lot of color to my otherwise gray afternoon after I arrived home from work.

I'm not a person that has a green thumb, but for the few weeks that my gift looked pretty these pretty ladies were nice to come home to after a long day in the office. Here are some of my favorite photos that I took, with my SLR.

As you can see the sun eventually came back out that afternoon, which made for some great photos. Kali and I have been friends for 3 years now. Part of how our friend ship started was her becoming my prayer sister within the first year of her joining the adult women for our monthly Bible studies. I have every confidence that even though she'll be moving soon that tour friendship will continue. Thanks for the flowers Kali!

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Benevolent Benefactor

ARG. . .technology has held me hostage over the past couple days. Out of nowhere my laptop started acting "hinky" i.e. acting up. And then it died on me...the nerve! I mean it didn't even recognize my user password anymore:(

So after having a mental breakdown last Thursday night I took the necessary steps to try and calm down.
1) Did I pray? (check)
2) Did I cry? (check, check)
3) Did I pray some more (check, check, check)
4) Did I finally come to the realization that I may have to buy a new computer and that it's not the worst thing in the world because I will have the money for it, even if it will take a bite out of what I wanted to but on my credit card balance? (check, check, check, check)
and finally I prayed again.

See it goes with the negative philosophy that the second you pay something off it's going to break. And I don't like to give into that kind of self-pity, but it was very frustrating to have to think about taking my laptop in to be fixed, which I don't have the money for either, or potentially buying a new one. But what to do?

I was home by myself, my roommate being at work, so there was no one to commiserate with and so I sent out an text APW (All Points Whine) style, as apposed to an APB (All Points Bulletin) to my girls, Kali & Nicki. Knowing that there was nothing that they could do about it, but knowing that I also needed some sympathy.

Well, wouldn't you know it. Nicki actually had another option for me and asked me if I wanted her "old" one. We actually got ours around the same time, but she had gotten a new one for herself not long ago, which I had not known about prior to my disaster. To her it was just sitting in her closet, collecting dust and waiting for something useful to be done with it. It was also 2 models up from the one that I got in 2007. Needless to say I was surprised. I'm not a hinter like that, if I need something I'll ask, but I never would have known to ask a friend for something like that anyway, nor would I expect a friend to relinquish their computer so willingly. But she did, and I love her for it.

Looking back I did loose some information that I will miss, the videos from my Flip camera, like Sherri's devotion for Amber's bridal shower, and information on my MS One Note that I had saved for future plans. But other than that there wasn't anything major because I had all my photos, Bible Institute Assignments, SS lessons, and Devotions on my external hard drive. Whew!!!

This gesture was a definite answer to a prayer, even if it may seem silly to some out there. The reason I post this story as a testimony to account for the fact that my paying off my debt is something that the Lord is interested in and that He is capable of helping to provide for material things, as well as spiritual. I could still buy a new laptop if I wanted, but that would put my finances back from where I'm hoping to be in another year or so, and so unless something else goes horribly wrong I'll be happily using this one for the time being and then buy one when the money actually becomes available to me, rather than stack on more debt yet again. Even in the middle of doing the right thing tests sometimes come our way the key is in how you respond.

My Benevolent Benefactor was not just encompassed in Nicki and her generosity, but ultimately in the Lord who brought us together in friendship in the first place.

Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Friday, April 16, 2010



Sandi went out of her way last week to buy this mix for me and I finally made them up last night, while I was trying, unsuccessfully I might ad, to defrag my computer (another post on that later). A midst the irritation of staring at the MS Windows circle going 'round and 'round I needed something constructive to do so out came my mixer and voila!!!

These way surpass Bob's Red Mill, not to knock down Bob at all because I love his products, but his come out very dry and crumbly. Betty's cookies are less crumbly and really moist for GF cookies, a lot of times GF cookies are dry, AND to top it all off the chocolate chips are regular sized too. Not something you'll find with BRM. I dare you to pull a switcharoo on someone to see if they can tell the difference, because I can't nor could my co-worker Sarah. to quote the infamous Rachel Ray "YUM-O"!!!

Alas while my laptop did not survive the evening, all was not lost with these cookies serving as my distraction. The best part of baking is how your home smells afterward *sigh* irritation will not last long while the aroma of vanilla and butter permeates the air.

Thanks Sandi:)

In case you're interested the Betty Crocker website has a whole slew of GF recipes:)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Another Bill Bites the Dust

Well as my goal continues another bill bites the dust. . .my Sallie Mae loan that is. It was a biggun too. . .$4515 to be exact (I don't plan on putting any actual numbers up until the whole bill is paid off, just so you know). Some people might wonder, "Why put down numbers at all?" Well simply put it's because I need to see exactly where I've come from and where I'm going, and in order to do that it's important to be honest with how I arrived in this spot in the first place. Mostly it's because of pride and discontentment, like much of debt actually is. Buying things that I couldn't afford, or wanting to meet someone elses need at my own personal expense. I can't really count the emergencies that have come up for me as misuse of my money, because lets face it. . .life happens, I just take it as a lesson that I should plan better in the future for those times that do come up. I'm working on that too.

I felt especially blessed this past Sunday with some friends of mine. I was saying goodbye to some friends (Vicki had come in from Spokane for the weekend) as they were planning on where they wanted to go for lunch with their kiddos and she and Joy asked me to join them. My initial reply was to decline because I couldn't afford it, but instead of taking my no for an answer they offered to pay so that I could enjoy an afternoon of free fellowship and food with friends.

Vicki, Joy & Moi
I paid my student loan off earlier this evening when I got home from work. There's no real fan fare to speak of. I wasn't torn up about it because I knew that the money needed to go to that bill, but in the spirit of keeping ya'll up to date on my debt pay down that is my newest move forward in my goal that I had previously put forward.

So here's where it's at so far. . .
Laptop: $1200 (PAID IN FULL)
Student Loan: $4515 (PAID IN FULL)
Credit Card: ----- (See ticker above)

Now normally this would take a person quite a while, but since I'm still receiving my monthly GI Bill money I've been able to accomplish this process a bit faster than most. So if you're a reader that has the same goal realize that, at this point at least, I have a little bit of help from my previous career. Don't feel bad about not being able to make huge strides like these, just do what you can and it will all turn out OK for you as well. This money will soon be cut off at the end of May since I'm not continuing on with school right now, which is another post for another time, but suffice it to say that this choice was put on my heart by the Lord and He's been blessing my ministries since, even if the new video editing program at church doesn't want to work right, right now:P For a little more explanation feel free to read this older post. But I digress, soon though I will be in the same spot as most people that have this in common plight, and then I will be at the mercy of the resources that the Lord has blessed me with. Really it's amazing how the money can last when priorities are set straight.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sweethearts Banquet 2010...a much overdue post

WOW, where did the time go. After reading Kali's blog I realized that I've been remiss in posting the events of this past February's Sweethearts Banquet. Here's the play by play, at least according to me. I'm know that Kali will have her own spin on the evening as well, so stop on by and see what moments she was able to capture and how she was blessed with the evening.

If you've read about it before you know that the Sweethearts Banquet is one of the highlights of the SPG calendar. This year we had a lot going on the week of Valentines Day as well as the weekend before, so we had the Sweethearts Banquet a week after Valentines (click on the link to read about last years Banquet).

Last year our theme was Continuing the Commitment, complete with a vow renewal ceremony for the couples. This year we wanted to do something a more low key. Since our church theme this year is Cultivating the Commitment we thought a garden party would be ideal, i.e. cultivating a garden, get it. Back when Shannon came to visit in December we were all at DQ and just started talking about how we really needed to come up with a theme since it the SH Banquet would be coming upon us fast (it always does). Initially we were thinking of a picnic theme, and then I think I said something about having a picnic in a garden, which we then all realized that a garden theme would be more ideal with the theme of cultivation. Really the SPG's are more in sync with each other than a lot of people realize. We don't all like the same things, we are after all our own people, but when it comes to the big stuff, banding together and getting the job done, or planning something like this, we all work together well and do a decent job of putting out egos aside. That's a rarity in life. This year we, as a church, learned about what our spiritual gifts are and now that we know them I think that we’ll be able to polish our dynamic, allowing certain people to shine when necessary, but all to give glory to the Lord, which is at the core of the SPG’s and their “mission” so to speak. While we are in this mode of waiting, we are also using our lives to serve the Lord and his church. It’s hard to be a Single that Pleases God when you are not doing anything that would please him, namely serving His church.

So without further ado I’ll let the pictures, and their captions do the talking of what was yet another successful effort by the SPG’s.

Welcome to the Sweethearts Garden. . .

Pictures of the Couples

Our centerpieces

The Tables
Taking the orders
This years menu: Soup, Salad & Bread sticks
Much easier than last year

Gearing up for SPG Jeaporady

Complete with Christoper Trebek

Everyone got a kick out of Chris' outfit

This Years Winners
Tim prepared for the devotion
Mr. Green re-proposed to his Sweetheart after
their many years of marriage. It was a sweet moment.
Now for desert!!!
This year we went with cupcakes.
Kali and Alyssa worked hard on the decorating them.

Fellowship was enjoyed by all. Here are some men
welcoming back Bro. Aquino who had just got home from deployment.

Donations were accepted.

The Bakers!!!
While we were cleaning....
Kali & Nicki counted the donations.
I watched to maintain accountability.
We made enough to cover the cost of the dinner and
for some of our travel expenses for LTIA this year.
Boys being boys
We had to push Anna out...
She & Chris are getting married this summer
Here's the cute couple

It was a great night and it's great to see the Lord still at work in our group. We enjoy being a blessing to those in our church.


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